The Great Wall: The Hurdles U.S. Brokers Face in China
September 3, 2013

Shortly after a Chinese business tapped Studley’s newly opened Shanghai office to help it expand beyond the city and country and procure space in New York earlier this year, Yin Li, head of the brokerage firm’s China operations, hit a roadblock.

In line with standards in China, Ms. Li’s client was looking to sign a short-term two- or three-year lease, which New York landlords were reluctant to accommodate. Instead, Ms. Li convinced her client to seek out an alternative—a sublease deal.

“The hurdle really is to educate them about the market in general,” Ms. Li said of the challenges of completing cross-border transactions. “Chinese people have a very different concept about real estate.”

As Chinese nationals and businesses seek to diversify investment portfolios and forge a worldwide presence, the litany of business challenges—from language barriers and cultural differences to the relatively lower level of sophistication of the Chinese real estate market—are becoming increasingly apparent for stateside brokers...

The Great Wall: The Hurdles U.S. Brokers Face in China

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